Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's Christmas!

Unfortunately the kid came down sick late at night on the 23rd, so the three of us are having the traditional quarantined Christmas so we don't endanger my mom.

For a tree, we got a Grand Fir this time.  It smells awesome but is so dense I got maybe 1/3 of my ornaments on it, so it's Christmas Lite this year.  Due to the small, odd shape to our living room and having to position the tree away from the heating vents, the one and only place it can go is here, which means the packages must be arranged so no one trips over them and kills themselves by falling into a Christmas tree.  So the packages kinda wandered down the hall a bit.

The kid gave me some quality teenage eyeroll when she saw I'd been a smartass with the 'Naughty or Nice' markings on her Toblerone, which by the way was the size of a telephone pole.

She loves plastic dinosaurs, when I saw this one I had to get it for her.  Dino jazz hands!

He looks like one of your buddies running up to tell you the greatest joke ever.
 I love his facial expression, I giggle every time I look at him.  I may have to get one of these for myself.

We had a fun, if very quiet, day.  I've stocked us up on Kleenex, ice cream and cold meds, and made a crock pot full of cream of roast chicken soup.  Hopefully the kid will have things as easy as we can make them, especially since we got skunked on the snow they promised us and she's wondering who she can officially complain to about this disgrace.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Chickmas!

Santa hats on chickens!  Time to humiliate the roosters!

I dunno, it's just funnier with the boys.  Bloop is first, doing it wrong since he fits in the hat better in this direction. 
He wanted to kill me.

Then Weedcat the Head Roo.  He clearly did not find it as funny as the kid did.

Weedcat is a big, heavy guy and hard for the kid to hold, so my husband took over.  Poor Weeds humored us.
Instant dignity removal.

Mushroom the bantam Cochin roo wore his hat in style, he  is a jaunty little guy!

Happy holidays from all us chickens!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Auntie Em, Auntie Em!

While it wasn't quite a twister, it got damned windy today, scarily so at sustained winds of between 65-76 mph.  Local weather stations clocked gusts of 93 mph, while at Lake Tahoe they had 70 mph gusts and people were surfing the 7 foot waves on the lake.

Right about midday our chicken coop and run started coming apart, despite our building it stand against the high winds we have here.  On the run the peak cap was torn loose.  We ran outside in the damned wind to fix it before it got worse.

Also, the wind had ripped the coop doors off, tearing one off the hinges and splitting the other in half vertically.  In this picture you can also see the daylight coming through where the peak cap used to be.

The chickens were not about to come out of the coop and I don't blame them.  We agreed that if we couldn't repair the coop right away, it was going to be another episode of '50 chickens in the house' until we could.

So we were highly motivated to do the repairs now, despite the nearly 100 mph winds.  We fixed the doors first.

Onto the coop and run roof went my husband, while I stayed below and handed up materials, worried and prepared to render first aid and call 911.

Luckily for us repairs were made and he didn't get hurt, and we retreated back to the house...where the power had gone out.  Right about then the kid was due at the bus stop, so we drove down to pick her up so she wouldn't have to walk home in screaming winds.  She was wide-eyed and told tales of the bus getting blown around and having to dodge branches coming down while the kids screamed.

We took a quick drive around the neighborhood and realized we got off lightly.  The place down the street had not one but two of their trees fall on their house.
We congratulated ourselves for having the foresight to have had the neighbor's elm trees trimmed a few months ago.

More damage was all around, like this 100+ year old barn having it's roof peeled back like an old-school sardine can lid.

Fences and trees were down.

This poor guy had his fence blow down, which in turn took his tree and felled it against his house.

One of the local parks had several trees with broken branches.

We're used to high winds here, windstorms lasting days with sustained winds of between 25-70 mph are common, so everything is built for it.  But this was ridiculous.

The shingles from this guy's house were spread in a two-house radius around his house.

We realized that most of the shingles were coming from the other side of the house and this was the lee of the house, so we drove around to the next street to see if we could get a look at the windward side of it...

...and yeah, the poor guy's house and garage was pretty much peeled down to the plywood.  He could probably gather up the shingles and put them back on, they'd come off in big hunks.

Eventually, later that night the power came back on in our area, we were luckier than other places that had no power for a couple of days.  Hopefully we've had our big storm for the year!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

It Is Useless To Resist...

...Bantam Cochins.

Last night was the kid's Ag class annual turkey dinner.  The kids provide the turkeys they raised, slaughtered, processed and cooked themselves, everyone else just brings a side dish and we all have ourselves a great dinner and meet other parents.  It's fantastic.  So I made a huge vat of sausage-walnut dressing and off we went.

After dinner the kid's Ag teacher comes over.  She has a pair of bantam Cochin hens that need rehoming out back in the school coop, do we want to buy them for 5 bucks a pop?

She knows suckers when she sees them.

So, we went for turkey and came back with chicken.

Molly is the pure bantam Cochin on the left, Sophie on the right is half Sicillian Buttercup/bantam Cochin.  Sophie has some Buttercup markings and just a *hint* of a Buttercup comb, and is quite the talker.

Molly obligingly posed for the obligatory 'Derp' shot.  It's a Cochin's job to be a round puffball.

They are both very sweet and the flock accepted them nicely!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fun With Home Improvement!

So today we decided to change out the existing aggressively 70's Holy God UGLY light fixtures that came with the house.

There were three, one large one (admittedly more 80's than 70's, someone had at least made an attempt) over the foyer...

...and two anemic hallway fixtures, identical to one another.

And yes, in keeping with what we found in the rest of the house, we were not a BIT surprised to see that all had paint slopped on them.

Well...maybe the hallway ones weren't as ugly when turned on and weren't really that ba--
Nope.  Never mind.  Turning them on only allows you to see that the previous folks had, in the spirit of equality, also slopped paint on the glass shade.

Soon the hallway lights were taken down and changed out to matching fixtures made in this century!

Now for the big one over the entryway, which needless to say, looks as if it was painted into place.

My husband calls me. "Hey, come get a load of this!"
I involuntarily whimper and go to see, dragging my feet a bit since calling each other over to glimpse the latest horror unearthed in any household project has become a morbid game of one-upmanship.
Hang on a tick, what's with the base of the thing, on the ceiling?  What IS that peeking out?
"What IS it?"  I whine.  It has corners. 
He doesn't know, but soon all is revealed.

Ah, a craptacular, half-assed ceiling patch!  Naturally!

The real kicker is that you can see that this fixture was actually the THIRD one the house has had here, if the initial hole the patch is covering was the first--the small circular mark betrays all.  You can see the larger round mark where the current fixture was.  Lovely. I especially like the fact that while the smaller fixture was up, the big ugly square patch was visible in all it's glory.  Classy.

Bracing for the worst, we remove the square patch to see what new delights await us.
Hey, we're finally down to the original ceiling fixture!  Despite that this is inside the house, they used a cheap exterior fixture.  And ain't it attractive! And of course, of course they hadn't masked the thing off when they sprayed new acoustical goop on the ceiling, they just coated the entire fixture with it. I was not at all surprised to see that the original ceiling sported typical 70's metallic gold flecks on it.

Dear God in Heaven.  I'm starting to wonder if my house was a prison in it's previous life.

The wiring is checked and secured to make sure it isn't going to burn down the house some night while we sleep.  Unfortunately, the ridiculous square ceiling patch is needed to cover the hole, so back up it goes, but not before my husband writes an explanatory note of apology to future homeowners, denying responsibility for the thing.  At least this time it will be covered and won't be peeking out like clockspider.

New fixture covers the prior ugliness, costs more than 2 1/2 cents and matches the decor, yay!

I count today as a little victory in the war against 40 years of previous tenants' jihad against this poor house, a small but helpful step.

The bullet holes in the garage wall on the deck out back are for another day, I still need to do some research on how to patch those.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fun With Poultry

Pele, one of the hens hatched last year, has decided she's tired of being a white hen and is changing to...well, taupe, of all things.

The molt has begun.  The old white feathers on their way out...

A few days later, as new feathers start coming in, the color change is evident.

...and more...

At this stage it's finally safe to *gently* pick her up to take pictures.
I think she chose her new color well, she's very striking!

The other chickens mill around at picture time.  Some cooperate and pose nicely, others not so much.  I never plan on taking pictures of certain birds, it just works out however it works out.

Pie in the sky!

Jellybean looking beautiful and showing off her Kraienkoppe cape.

Daphne being wise and starting to grow winter feathers.

'Pompdour?  Hey, Pomps...?'
Can't talk.  EATING.

Oh, well.  I know, I'll get some shots of Pumpkin!  Hey, Pumpkin!

No, Pumpkin, hold still!

Oh, forget it.

Frosty at least cooperated.

No, Pumpkin, photobombing doesn't count.

Fries and Bloop looked great.

And Burger was looking VERY dignified and grand.

Also clean, for a change.

Hanging out in front of the feed shed so she wouldn't accidentally miss out on any food.

Bloop's sons, Buzzard and Cowbell are growing up nicely.  Buzzard has some nice spangles coming in on his pantaloons.

And Cam is looking handsome!

Finally, in the end Pumpkin took pity on me and posed very prettily.

Silly chicken.